Sunday, March 07, 2021


I'm not much for conspiracy theories, but this made me stop and think:

Roger Stone targeted New York's last elected governor, Eliot Spitzer, and claims partial responsiblility for Spitzer's downfall in a prostitution scandal, so it's worth at least considering the possibility that something similar is happening to Cuomo. (Two new stories about Cuomo's toxic behavior, in The Washingotn Post and The Wall Street Journal, have just appeared.)

I can't rule out the involvement of Stone or other Trumpists.But the allegations, about both personal behavior in the workplace and the cover-up of nursing home deaths, seem legitimate, and the reckoning seems overdue. I believe Cuomo handled the nursing home situation very badly but handled other aspects of the pandemic very well -- most people aren't purely good or purely evil -- and the public and mainstream press, desperate for a pandemic hero last spring and summer, wanted to treat Cuomo as a hero, the anti-Trump on COVID. Now, with the end of pandemic in sight, we're more receptive to Cuomo-bashing. (The public began to take allegations against Woody Allen and Bill Cosby seriously only after they were well past their creative peak, and Harvey Weinstein was brought down only when he'd ceased to be the dominant force in indie cinema.)

Whatever the reason for our readiness to take Cuomo allegations seriously now, he'll clearly have trouble winning reelection in 2022, if he's still in office and chooses to run. I hope he steps down soon, or at least announces that he won't run again, to clear the field for some fresh Democrats.

Don't assume that New York is too blue to elect a Republican governor. George Pataki won three elections as governor between 1994 and 2002. Al D'Amato won three Senate elections from 1980 to 1992. And New York City, which is much bluer than the state, rejected the Democratic candidate in five straight mayoral races between 1993 and 2009, electing Rudy Giuliani twice and Mike Bloomberg three times. Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont have Republican governors. A Republican could absolutely win in New York State, especially against either a weakened Cuomo or a Democrat without broad appeal. (Bill de Blasio, you don't have broad appeal, so don't even think about running.)

The two Trump friends alluded to in the tweet above are both members of Congress: Lee Zeldin and Elise Stefanik. They're not the only Republicans considering a run, but they have a national profile, especially Stefanik, whose defense of Trump in his first impeachment made her a MAGA favorite (though she was a moderate once and could tack toward the center prior to a gubernatorial run, or after winning the primary).

But I have my eye on Janice Dean, a Fox News meteorologist who blames Cuomo for her parents' COVID deaths in eldercare last year.
Don't count her out.
Would any of these candidates offer state clemency to Trump if elected? The question would be asked on the campaign trail, and a yes answer would probably hurt these candidates with general election voters. But the candidates could hedge, or lie.

Of course, it would be much more efficient to target the race for attorney general. If a Republican can replace Letitia James, either because she runs for governor (as most state AGs eventually do) or because the Cuomo scandals drag down the entire Democratic ticket, Trump would benefit.

So I don't know whether Trumpworld has anything to do with Cuomo's current troubles -- but whatever's happening, it seems likely that weakness at the top of the 2022 Democratic ticket offers Trump at least some hope.

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